Boys love yoga – VIDEO

Boys love yoga

UK-based “Boys of Yoga” is an urban yogi movement spearheaded by six males, all hellbent on uplifting the male yogi’s status in the global community of yoga folks.

To them, yoga is a solid, hardcore, and centering practice that’s as perfect for spandex-clad women, granola-munching hippies, and raw vegan activists as it is for the average guy.

In this video, MJ, Charlie, Marc II, Lord Veda, Carl, and Adam each speak their truth on their passion for yoga and how it’s changed their life for the better, despite common beliefs of yoga as a “females only” zone.

“Some guys think that yoga makes you less of a man,” says their website’s ‘About’ statement. “The truth is, it makes you a better one.”

… to read more <boysofyoga.com>

Be In The Now – Your Zen Life

Be In The Now

Jul 26, 2014 Contributed by: Charlotte Dodson

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Do you often catch your mind wandering all over the place? Are you dwelling with regret over the past, or imagining the future with a fearful perspective? Sometimes we can get so distracted by our internal chatter, we’re not even aware of where we are in the Moment. Yoga offers you the tools that are needed in order to get focused and ‘be’ fully in the present. Wherever you are in your life’s journey, with a committed yoga practice you’ll gain all the power, drive and momentum you need to live in the NOW!

 

It’s important to take a rest from ‘doing’, as much as it is to work in areas that inspire you; take it easy on occasion, and revitalize your system as a result. It is imperative that we give time back to ourselves. Sometimes it’s a case of bodies crying out for ‘me’ time: time to reflect, to unwind, and be still. It can be a powerful exercise to put the brakes on – sometimes we’re all far too busy to even notice what’s going on deep down inside of ourselves. By giving yourself a ‘time out’, and listening to the silence generated by your stillness, maybe you’ll wind up guiding yourself into another direction – one that can open up a whole new world. You’ll be amazed by the amount of focus and productivity you’ll gain as a result of slowing down.

 

It’s much better to replenish your energy stores and be kind to yourself, than to simply bombard and overload your body and mind (creating a stressful impact), which leads to compromised physical functions and decreased energy levels. Here are several ways to kindly gain focus and awareness, and live every moment to it’s fullest.

 

Stop for a moment

The feeling that arises when you can actually ‘stop’ for a few moments, and focus on your breath, can make you far more productive; that’s where wisdom arrives – in silence – which is always there for us. It can take quite a few attempts to actually master this and find the quietness within.

… to read more

 

Feel healthier in 24 hours – DOLLY Mag

Feel healthier in 24 hours

2:36PM, May 27 2014

Here’s your action plan to feel better by the end of the day.

Start your day right
Time: 9 hours

Research shows a good night’s sleep will increase your concentration, attitude and mood throughout the day (it also feels damn good too). Follow these three easy steps for the best sleep ever:

1. Don’t look at your phone when you’re in bed. The backlight will wake your mind up.
2. Shut your doors and blinds to make your room as dark as possible.
3. Download an app, like Sleep Cycle. It’ll wake you up during your lightest phase of sleep so you’ll get that refreshed morning feeling.

Instant energy boost
Time: 10 minutes

Starting your day with a yoga pose like the bridge is a top way to boost your energy. Begin on your back and press your feet hip-distant apart.

1. On your exhale, roll up slowly into a half-back bend. Keep your chin tucked into your throat and legs active.
2. Look towards the tip of your nose as you breathe deeply into your heart.
3. Breathe from the base of your body all the way up into your collarbone. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

“This gentle back bend will open your chest, lungs and strengthen your back muscles,” says yoga expert Charlotte Dodson.

Feel rejuvenated
Time: 10 minutes

Charlotte says Legs-Up-The-Wall pose (known by yogis as Viparita Karani) will give you a gentle boost of energy during the day in place of an arvo nap.

1. Lie on your back with your feet placed flat against the wall, knees bent at 90-degree angle.
2. Bring your hands to your chest, your heart, or down by your side. You can decide what’s more comfortable for you.
3. Keep your chin tucked into your throat, protecting the back of your neck and your shoulders rolling down towards the floor.
4. Your legs can roll-out naturally and knees can bend. (Let your body naturally come to an easy and comfortable place).
5. Hold and breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes.
6. To release, bend both knees and roll out to your right side.

For positive vibes
Time: 5 minutes

Charlotte’s easy meditation technique will bring on your zen:

1. Start by lying on your back. Bring your hands onto your chest and overlap them on top of your heart.
2. With your eyes closed and awareness focused upon your heart centre, ask yourself, “If my heart were to be planted, what would grow?”
3. Lay quietly, allowing whatever comes to mind for you – this could be the form of images, words or even colours. Be open to whatever appears, if anything.
4. Breathe deeply and naturally through both nostrils for about 5-10 minutes.
5. Take a few deeper breaths to finish, roll out to the right side, and up into a cross-legged posture.
Overnight shiny hair
Time: 9 hours

For your shiniest hair ever:

1. Apply hair oil to the ends your hair at bedtime.
2. Then, in the morning, spray a light-mist of shine spray to add an extra sheen and gloss. Voila! Shampoo-ad model hair is all yours.

“A nourishing hair masque is the magical key to all of your problems. The ingredients target damaged hair and will leave your strands silky and smooth,” says DOLLY beauty writer, Natalie.

Eat yourself healthy

Whether you’re feeling tired, experiencing the world’s biggest pimple or just feeling flat, follow this 24 hour eating plan from nutritionist Claudette Wadsworth.
1. Stimulate digestion: Drink half a lemon squeezed in a glass of warm water to stimulate your digestion.
2. Liver detox: Eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
3. Increase muscle power: Drink a freshly squeezed beetroot juice half an hour before exercising for an energy boost.
4. Stop hungry pains: Skip the pasta and opt for quinoa. It is higher in nutrients and lower GI for longer-lasting energy and vitality throughout the day.
5. Cure breakouts: Munch on carrots, pumpkin and other orange vegetables. They contain betacarotene which helps heal acne-prone skin by the next day.
6. Clear eyes: Drink at least 2 L of water over the day to flush your body of toxins and leave you with clear glowing skin and sparkling eyes.
7. Tummy clam: Drink chamomile tea to calm your nerves, quieten an upset stomach or heartburn within minutes.

…. to read more

Steal Miranda Kerr’s wellness and beauty secrets – Sporteluxe

5 Poses Fit For A Supermodel – Yoga Journal USA

5 Poses Fit for a Supermodel

April 11, 2014

mirandakerr-199x300By Dana Meltzer Zepeda

Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr is the kind of woman that turns heads the second she walks into a room. But the 30-year-old’s beauty is more than skin deep, according to her yoga instructor of the past 10 years, Charlotte Dodson. “Miranda is a truly beautiful and happy soul,” she says.

A dedicated practitioner, Kerr squeezes in a daily asana or meditation session, whether at home or on a shoot, says Dodson. While the physical practice helps Kerr maintain her celebrated physique, the mindful aspect is essential for maintain a supermodel’s hectic schedule along with co-parenting two-year-old son Finn with actor Orlando Bloom.

“There is a reason why Miranda is drawn to yoga,” Dodson adds. “It doesn’t take long to see results and, in turn, it will positively effect all areas of your life.”

Here are 5 key poses that Kerr wouldn’t miss, Dodson says. Add these into your daily practice and enjoy the results!

… to read more

Living Well: The Ultimate Beauty Regime – Styleicons

Living Well: The Ultimate Beauty Regimen

By on April 1, 2014

The Pacific launch of the Westin Well-Being Movement became the physical representation of its campaign: Feel Well, Work Well, Move Well, Eat Well, Sleep Well and Play Well. The year long, global initiative encompasses these six brand pillars, leaving no excuses to not feel your best for any traveller on the go, writes Shannon Gaitz.

Tree-Pose

A main facet of the movement is a yoga sequence, created by celebrity yoga instructor Charlotte Dodson, with six poses representing each pillar. A focus on travel and the ability to conduct the sequence no matter where you are, together with strategic poses aimed to counteract insomnia, aid digestion, energise you or help you unwind, embodies the brand’s mantra to a tee. The sequence, available on Westin TVs and soon available for download on the Hotel’s Sydney and Melbourne websites, aims to prove that wellbeing can be achieved regardless of time or location. Other initiatives, such as a lending program sponsored by New Balance, which will see guests able to borrow work out gear and shoes for a small fee, makes this process even easier, while breakthrough spa treatments ensures a further step to rejuvenation. A menu created entirely from Super Foods, dishes carefully selected for their nutritional value and health benefits by doctors and nutritionists, is the last piece in the wellbeing puzzle. The launch saw a demonstrative class of the yoga routine by Charlotte Dodson herself, followed by a course of the Super Food menu that ranged from blueberry and oatmeal pancakes to muesli, dark chocolate and freshly squeezed juices. Leaving feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and energized to tackle the rest of the day, it became clear that the mantra works when it is followed. With tips online, an instructional video soon to be available for download and other initiatives at your doorstep, there is no longer an excuse to stop yourself from feeling your best, no matter how busy we may be. Follow Westin’s Feel Well, Work Well, Move Well, Eat Well, Sleep Well and Play Well philosophy and watch yourself find that healthy glow, inside and out. For more information about the Westin Well-Being Movement visit www.westinwellbeing.com. … to read more

How to r-e-l-a-x during the festive season!

By Charlotte Dodson
Photography | atdusk
Wearing | Bloch
Charlotte_Dodson-240-1024x682The sun is shining brightly these days – a sure indication that your summer holiday break is just around the corner! It’s time to start winding down, lighten your load (possibly by shedding a few unwanted pounds), and get ready to relax for your whole Christmas break – looking and feeling in tip-top shape.

Yoga will help you to loosen up those hips (creating lightness and more movement), strengthen your body, and become more limber on all levels. We tend to hold emotions in our largest joint, the hip joint, and so for the sake of our ability to move ‘freely’, it’s best to let go of whatever negative emotion you are holding onto – as you open to yourself and relax into every day with purpose, please ensure that you make the most of it! After all, life is here to be cherished – you never know what will happen next!

Follow this next sequence in this particular order, working one side first, i.e. right leg, and then repeat the whole sequence on your left side. Remember to breathe deeply and mindfully through your nostrils (to keep your body warm), with lips closed. Always have your chin tucked into your throat, and remember to keep your belly strong and ‘active’.

Pigeon pose
Pigeon pose is one of the best ways to release your hips and take pressure out of your knees joints. Our hips are the biggest joint in the body, so we can carry a lot of our tension or negative emotion in our hips. The best way to free up this tension is to allow your breath to release any tightness. With your legs out in front of you, bend your right leg with your foot close to your left thigh. Lift your body to ensure your hips are square to the top of the mat. Keeping your back leg straight and working towards the back of the mat, slowly reach your arms out in front as you lay gently over your bent leg. The more open you become, the more your bent leg can open further away from you. Hold and breathe deeply for 10 breaths – 1 minute. Repeat to the other side for the same length of time.

Cobbler pose (Baddha Konasana)

Charlotte_Dodson-227This pose stretches your inner thighs, groin, and knees. As you open your hips, you’ll feel less pressure in your knees.
From pigeon pose (above), swing your back leg forward to the top of your mat. Keep your spine upright and your chin tucked into your throat, keeping your neck long. Breathe naturally and easily. Bend both knees outwards and bring the soles of your feet together, placing them up to your crotch area. Allow your thumbs (inside of soles) and fingers (outside of feet) to open your feet like a book. Keep your elbows gently tucked into your side waist. Try not let your heels lift off the floor. Keep your torso elongated as you slowly pivot from your hips and gently lengthen forward (without collapsing your chest). As you remain focused on the hip joints and the waist area, keep your inner thighs relaxed. Hold and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths. Let your inhale bring you back up to a neutral position.

Jump up into Warrior 1
Charlotte_Dodson-249As the saying goes, you’ve got to strive for what you want! This pose will work all those leg muscles you forgot you had! Please remember to breathe deeply, and avoid holding your breath. It can be a challenging posture, especially if you hold it for longer than 5 breaths.

These standing and strengthening poses give you the determination and edge to go for what your heart truly desires. As you hold these poses and control your breathing, remind yourself to always follow your dreams and bring them to reality!

From ‘baddha konasana’, swing your left leg back to the back of the mat. Tuck your back toes under; press your fingers firmly into the floor, and let your next inhale spring you up with your right foot grounding down in between your hands. Keep your back toes solidly pressing down and facing forward (heel is lifting). Keep your hips square to the top of the mat with your back leg straight and front knee bent. Slowly inhale to raise your arms up overhead with palms touching, shoulders down. Gaze to one point to help with your balance. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths or more.

Wide child pose

Soothe your body as your fold forward into ‘child pose’ (balasana). From Warrior 1, press your hands each side of your front foot, and step back your front foot back to join your back leg. Bring your big toes to touch, draw your knees out wide, and sit heavily onto your heels, lengthening your arms out in front of you. As you walk forward with your hands, fold your belly over your legs, and rest your forehead onto the ground. As you sit heavily onto your heels you’ll lengthen and create more openness into your spine. Breathe deeply into this gentle pose to soothe and soften your inner and outer self for 10 breaths (hold for longer if you need more of a rest).

Savasana

Charlotte_Dodson-450-1024x682It’s time to focus on being relaxed. Savasana really allows all of your muscles to soften, unwind and absorb your practice, as well as calming your mind. Lay on your back, rolling your palms upward, and allow your feet to naturally fall out to the side. Feel your whole back, your whole body, surrender into the ground. Cover your body and eyes to retain the inward focus , and lose yourself into your breath. Breathe deeply in this pose for about 5-10 minutes. This pose will allow you to be fully focused, limber and determined…filled with strength and lightness – with all the revitalizing energy you’ll need to make the most of your Christmas holiday time out.

After savasana, roll out to the right side and come up into a cross legged sit. Take a few quiet moments with your hands folded in prayer, eyes closed – be grateful for all that you have, and all that you are. Happy holidays! Namaste.

Ways to keep you warm this winter

 

By charlottedodson.tv | Thanks to atdusk phtography

Fire up the heater, put on those ugg boots and fill up your hot water bottle – the weather outside has taken a turn for the seriously chilly, with temperatures dropping dramatically on a daily basis, it seems. Winter really is here! But how can we stay in shape while simultaneously keeping our internal body systems warm and fully-functional this winter?

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Our breath is the key to keeping us warm. Have you noticed that when you go for a run that stretches out over a long period of time, you’ll naturally begin to breathe through your mouth during the session? This is an instinctual physiological response that enables the body to cool down. As you breathe naturally through both nostrils, with your lips closed, this heats up your internal self and stores that heat within your body. Remember to stay rehydrated with plenty of water during the winter months too. You can try the following movements anywhere – waiting for a bus, queuing at an ATM, window shopping, wherever you are … your breath can keep you warm and serene, even as the air outside continues to drop in temperature.Throughout this next sequence of poses, ensure that your lips are closed and you breathe naturally through both nostrils. Notice how quickly your body heats up. Remember to breathe deeply throughout each movement, without hurrying your breath. On days when you think you have no time for yoga, try and do at least one or two rounds of the Sun Salutation. You’ll notice the difference in a variety of pleasing ways.
SUN SALUTATIONS  (Surya Namaskar)
Charlotte_Dodson-41The sun is known through human history as an illuminator and provider, and its radiant glow warms us up -hence the title given to this sequence, as it acts to internally warm our body up. Sun salutations are used regularly at the start of a yoga practice. Each movement is co-ordinated with the breath. Your inhale uplifts and opens, whereas your exhale contracts and folds down. You can bend your knees as much as you need to throughout your practice, which will take pressure off of your lower back. Keep your belly tucked into the spine to protect your lower back as you move. The sun salutations builds strength and flexibility. Complete the following cycle to feel revitalised and brighten up your whole day.There are various steps to this movement, with each flowing gracefully from one movement to the next, hold each pose for 1 breath (except in downward facing dog).
1. NATURAL BREATHS: Standing tall (Tadasana)
Start by standing at the top of your mat. Feet together, legs active and your arms lengthen down by your side or into prayer at the centre of your chest. Breathe deeply for a few breaths.
2. INHALE: Hands up
Raise your arms out to the side and up over your head, palms together as you look up to your thumbs (take your gaze down to the floor if your neck is sore). Arms straight, legs strong and ground your feet into the earth (knees soft if your back is tender).
3. EXHALE: Forward bend (Uttansana)
Draw your arms out to the side and down to the floor, fingertips or palms flat to the ground. Head towards your knees, keep knees bent slightly – especially if your lower back is sore.
4. INHALE: Half way lift
Lift up slightly onto your fingertips as you elongate your spine. Your legs are active, kneecaps lifting and hips lift up to the ceiling. Take your gaze forward, chin tucks slightly into your throat.
5. EXHALE: High plank to knees and chest
Plant your hands flat into the floor, shoulder distant apart, your knees can bend more as you need to. Step or jump back one leg distant, toes tuck under as you gracefully lower from high plank to your knees and chest or you can lower the whole of your front body to the floor.
6. INHALE: Chest lift
Charlotte_Dodson-71Lower your front body to the floor, keeping hands by your rib cage, lift your chest “a little” way, your hands can lift off the floor too (this way you know not to lift too high where you can dip into your lower back). Shoulders roll away from your ears. Tuck your chin gently into your throat.
7. EXHALE: Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Strongly press your hands, arms active as your lift up onto your knees, toes tuck under and lift your hips up into downward facing dog. This is like a triangle, feet, hands and hips working actively. Feet are hip distant, your outer foot is inline with the outer part of the mat, and your hands are shoulder distant apart (your middle finger facing forward). Look to your navel as you keep your ears inline with your upper arms. This pose fully energises you and gives you vitality. Hold and breathe deeply into the pose for 5 long mindful breaths. If this feels too strong, you can drop to your knees at any time.
8. INHALE: Step to your hands, half way lift
From downward facing dog, step or jump towards your hands at the top of your mat. Feet together or hip distant apart, lifting up to your fingertips, legs active as you gaze forward.
9. EXHALE: Fold forward (Uttanasana)
On your exhale, fold forward with your head towards your knees as you lengthen your spine. Remember you can bend your knees at much as you need to in his movement.
10. INHALE: Hands up
Swing your arms out to the side and up to prayer above your head. Take your gaze upward if your neck feels good.
11. EXHALE: Standing tall (Tadasana)
Come back to your standing mountain pose at the top of your mat. This is one sun salutation. Repeat a few more times to build your endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility. This sequence gives your an inner glow that shines through to your outer self.
12. Rest and relax (Savasana)
Charlotte_Dodson-246After your sun salutations, have a glass of water to rehydrate and then cover yourself with a blanket to stay warm when laying in savasana. As your body relaxes completely, your temperature drops. Allow your body to rest and relax onto your back, especially after this routine. Let your arms and legs roll out to the side naturally and breathe deeply for 5 minutes. It’s as important to consciously rest as it is to work and play!After savasana, roll out to the right side and come up into a cross legged sit. Take a few quiet moments with your hands folded in prayer, eyes closed – be grateful for all that you have, and all that you are.

Stand at the top of your mat and see what happens!

 

CDYT-Trailer_LR-119

We all have them, some days you just don’t feel to practice yoga! Sometimes the hardest part is to roll out your mat, stand at the top and see what happens!

Whether on the yoga mat or off, always remember to follow your heart’s intuition. This openness and acceptance allows you to embrace the confronting times by working through challenging poses. Cherish every moment by embracing those uplifting yoga positions which give you a sense of appreciation and gratitude for growth. The journey of yoga teaches you to stay on your breath, which will keep you grounded in the ‘present moment’ – as someone once said to me, ‘try rolling your mat out, stand at the top and see what happens!’ This is exactly the kind of freedom and creativity I encourage with those I teach – find the lifetime practice within yourself, with a light, joyous and open heart!

Namaste, Charlotte x

Yoga: the power of the pose – SMH

Yoga: the power of the pose

Charmaine Yabsley

Charmaine_Yabsley
Strong and stable: Yoga helps to increase strength and balance.

Who would have thought that a 5000-year-old style of movement would become more popular in this country than Australian football? According to the Bureau of Statistics, more people take part in weekly yoga classes than they do in our national sport. And for good reason.

”All forms of yoga, meditation or tai chi, any gentle movement, helps to reduce pain or your perception of pain,” says Dr Sam McCarthy, an osteopath at Sydney’s Better Health Clinics (betterhealthclinics.com.au). ”We once thought that yoga made muscles longer alone, but we’ve now discovered that the poses make them wider, and the act of stretching actually feeds back information to your central nervous system. This in turn stimulates your muscles to become stronger around a point of weakness.”

Twenty-five per cent of people who do yoga earn more than $100,000 a year.

So, if you have an unstable or sore ankle, a yoga pose that requires you to balance on that ankle will stimulate your brain via proprioceptive nerves to strengthen the surrounding areas to help it become stronger and more stable.

”Yoga helps to improve your overall strength and posture while calming your mind and nervous system. This is probably why so many people practise yoga long term.

A professor of complementary medicine at RMIT in Melbourne, Marc Cohen, says: ”The majority of people we surveyed found that the reason they began doing yoga was very different to why they continued practising it.”  Cohen and PhD student Stephen Penman did a study of 4000 yoga teachers and students (it was published in the International Journal of Yoga). They found that one in five of the people surveyed began practising yoga for a specific medical issue, and continued to practise after their health improved. ”Yoga isn’t just about doing postures but also about meditation and relaxation,” he says.

Which yoga is best?

Should you be heating it up in Bikram or chilling out in Hatha? ”It’s really about your physical and emotional needs and how yoga will fit into your lifestyle,” says Charlotte Dodson, a yoga teacher who counts Miranda Kerr among her clients. ”There are certain styles to suit specific cycles in your life. For instance, there’s prenatal yoga for those more than 12 weeks pregnant, Iyengar is great for injuries, and Asthanga is a perfect match for achieving a more physical workout.”

Toning and weight loss

Regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, and people who eat mindfully are less likely to be obese, according to a study led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Washington. The researchers found that people who were aware of why they ate and stopped eating when full weighed less than those who ate when they were not hungry or in response to anxiety or depression. The researchers believe this link doesn’t exist between other types of exercise, such as walking or running. ”When you’re doing yoga you make lifestyle changes and choices for the better,” Cohen says. ”Our participants reported changes such as giving up smoking, eating healthier and reducing the amount of alcohol they drank.” Cohen says that as yoga is reported to help relieve stress, it’s likely that people are less tempted to turn to these vices as a crutch.

For relaxation

Researchers have finally justified what yogis have known for centuries: a study published in Medical Hypotheses found that yoga was more beneficial than walking when it came to reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac disease. The researchers found that yoga increased the level of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA), which helps decrease anxiety.

… to read more